Page 1606 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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I again want to thank the individuals and organisations who were involved in the consultation, development and review of this important bill. My office and I, as well as Community Services Directorate officials, were entrusted with many personal accounts and experiences, and these were instrumental to the bill’s development. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2020

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (11.21): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2020 today. The bill is another progressive step for the ACT in providing official birth registration documents that reflect the reality of people’s lived experience and identity. This acknowledgement and recognition can make a real difference in people’s lives. The bill will create more accessible pathways for young people who are transgender, intersex or gender diverse to change their birth registration details and birth certificates to better reflect their gender identities.

The bill will also support the adoptive community by allowing people born in the ACT and adopted to obtain an integrated birth certificate which recognises both their birth parents and adoptive parents. Integrated birth certificates can also be provided to people born overseas and adopted in the ACT. Birth identification is important on symbolic and practical levels and reflects our values as a progressive and inclusive community.

For a young person, having identification that reflects your lived gender identity makes life easier and provides a formal recognition and affirmation of who you are. Similarly, for an adopted person, having a birth certificate that acknowledges your history and birth parents, as well as your adoptive family, can be extremely important. We have moved a long way since the time when adoption was stigmatised and adopted people were routinely deprived of any information about their history and origins.

Many studies have shown that transgender, intersex and gender diverse young people have a higher prevalence of mental health issues than other young people, often from the conflict and pressure that they feel to conform to identities and gender stereotypes

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